Diet Tips

Don’t Fall for These Five Food Marketing Tricks

Low calorie, fat free, low sugar, gluten free, all natural and the list goes on.  Peruse the aisles of any grocery store and you will find yourself inundated by a bevy of food marketing buzzwords.  At first glance, these eye catching labels may convince you that consuming these foods will lead to weight loss or improved health. However, without reading the fine print, you may be falling prey to marketing trickery.  Here are some labels to look out for and tips on how to read between the lines. 

 

  • All Natural:  Seeing the words “all natural” stamped on the front of a box may entice some people to choose that product over another.  However, buyer beware.  All natural does not necessarily mean healthier.  Sugar laden foods can sport this label, but it’s only because the sugar is made from natural sources such as sugarcane and corn. Medifast Weight Control

 

  • Organic:  While there are certain USDA regulations around labeling food “organic”, such regulations refer solely to the standards by which the food was grown or processed. The absence of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are among several standards upheld by the USDA.  A label that reads “made with organic” means that only 70% of the ingredients are held to organic standards. Regardless of whether a label reads “certified organic”, “100% organic”, or “made with organic”, the translation is not always a healthy one. Organic foods can still be packed with fat, calories, and sugar.

 

  • Calories Per Serving: A frequent technique used to promote foods to those who may be trying to shed a few pounds is the “only 100 calories per serving” or other low-cal label. This can seem attractive to calorie counting folks, however it is important to note that the lower calorie count can be a simple function of tiny and unrealistic serving sizes.  Any food that is consumed in minute amounts will be lower in calories so be aware of the quantity attached to calorie count.

 

  • Sugar Free:  The label says “sugar free” so it must be good for you right?  Think again!  Sugar free often indicates the presence of artificial sweeteners and other unhealthy substitutes to compensate for the more bland flavor that comes from being free of sugar. 

 

  • canstockphoto28190771Fat Free or Low Fat: The absence of fat often equates to the absence of flavor.  Therefore, foods labeled “fat free” or “low fat” often contain lots of added sugar to make up for the lost flavor. 

 

When it comes to making healthy food shopping decisions, always be weary of marketing labels and delve deeper by reading FDA regulated nutritional labels and ingredient lists. Pay attention to serving size to be sure that low calorie doesn’t mean two bites and you’re done. 

Also, be aware that ingredients are listed in order of quantity so the first few ingredients make up the majority of the food’s contents.  Looking beyond marketing techniques and really understanding how to eat right can be daunting, but the experts at Medifast Weight Control Centers can help. 

 

Please call today (602) 996-9669 for your complimentary consultation so that we can support you in learning how to eat for good health and ideal weight!

6 Weight Loss Friendly Foods!

1. Kale

In recent years Kale has ruled as King of weight loss foods. 1 cup of raw kale contains just 33 calories and so will fill you up without increasing your calorie count! Kale also includes lots of good vitamins and mineral, including around 80 mg of Vitamin C (MORE than your daily requirements) and LOADS of Vitamin A and Vitamin K.

2. Avocado

Don’t avocados have loads of fat in them? Won’t it send my cholesterol through the roof? Wrong. In fact in a study published in the Journal of American Heart Association they trialed 45 overweight people on a number of diets. In one diet they had a lower total fat intake but did not eat avocado. In the second diet, there was more fat but each participant ate an avocado a day. The results were astonishing – despite eating more fat the LDL (bad cholesterol) results in the avocado group were lower than the other groups.

3. Tuna

Tuna is low calorie but high protein meaning you stay fuller for longer.

4. Eggs

Eggs can a great way to get lots of essential nutrients in. We also tend to eat them in the morning – the perfect time as they are a source high in protein. Typically eating a high protein breakfast can promote weight loss because you feel more full and are less likely to be reaching for the snack drawer at 11 am.

There are a number of specialised programmes across the country that can help you make an individual weight loss plan

5. Salmon

Another fish that makes the list is Salmon. Again (there’s a theme here) its a rich protein source meaning you stay fuller for longer and don’t reach for snacks. But apart from that, it’s a great source of omega-3 which has been shown in certain studies to leave people more satisfied with their meals. It’s also an easy dish to prepare so is perfect for those with a busy lifestyle.

6. Popcorn

Seems like an odd one but popcorn is a great snack that doesn’t have a high-calorie count. In fact, a bowl of popcorn might only be about 100 calories. If you can’t break the habit of snacking then switching to popcorn as a snack is probably a good idea. It will allow you to slowly wean yourself off snacking but without taking in loads of calories. It’s also a great source of fiber – which can help gastrointestinal transit and is great for people who suffer from things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome!

 

What about a program?

 

If all this is a bit confusing – and you aren’t quite sure about cholesterol, fats, protein nutrients and everything in between then maybe it’s time to call in the professionals. There are a number of specialised programmes across the country that can help you make an individual weight loss plan tailored to your exact goals. Many of these aren’t backed by science – so make sure you pick a plan such as Medifast – that has a number of trials about its weight loss effects.

Reasons Why Maintaining Weight is Harder than Losing It

Human nature is to seek the greatest and most immediate reward, while putting forth the least amount of effort.  Therefore, when setting out to lose weight, people focus on the instant gratification of seeing their weight drop and feeling their clothes loosen.

canstockphoto1869885Rarely however do they focus on the long term maintenance of their new, svelte physiques. Unfortunately, this leads to the frustrating and seemingly endless cycle of yo-yo dieting.  There are indeed valid biological reasons behind the struggle to maintain one’s ideal weight, so let’s explore these and how they can be overcome.

  • Shedding weight too quickly:  While losing weight rapidly can be motivating, it isn’t a long term solution.  Rapid weight loss doesn’t give the body time to adjust hormonally and metabolically, making weight maintenance challenging, if not impossible.  It’s important to recognize that weight gain didn’t occur overnight, nor should weight loss. A healthy goal to strive for is a one to two pound per week loss.

 

  • Metabolic changes:  The human body is programmed to adapt to scarcity, so decreased food consumption signals the metabolism to slow down to run more efficiently on less fuel.  This metabolic slowdown can cause weight to return very quickly if one resumes their former dietary habits. In order to combat the body’s natural tendency for metabolic slowing it is essential to make lasting lifestyle changes, including both diet and exercise.

 

  • Extreme caloric restriction:  The desire for instant results can influence people to partake in overly restrictive diets.  This is a recipe for self sabotage, as the body becomes accustomed to inadequate calorie intake and resuming a Buddy_System_Flyer__Compatibility_Mode_normal diet results in the return of unwanted pounds. This is why it’s so important to consume a daily amount of calories that can be realistically sustained over time.

 

  • Over exercising:  Exercise, although healthy in moderation, can be detrimental if taken to extremes.  When trying to lose weight, people may attempt to compensate for their dietary slip ups with excessive exercise.  This attempt to counterbalance caloric intake with extreme cardio is a form of bulimia and is neither sustainable nor healthy. Once the body tires of keeping up with these unrealistic levels of exercise, weight is sure to return. While moderate exercise is key to maintaining weight, extreme exercise shouldn’t be seen as a free pass to overindulge.

 

When deciding to lose weight, the focus should be on long term changes to lifestyle, behavior, and diet rather than instant results.  Medifast Weight Control Centers offer a highly supportive and structured maintenance program to educate clients about maintaining their weight by practicing good eating habits and making necessary lifestyle changes.

Please call today (602) 996-9669 for your complimentary consultation to see how Medifast can help you achieve and maintain long term weight loss success!

Six Reasons Why Spring is an Easier Time to Lose Weight

The weather is heating up and the days of being able to cover up excess weight with layers of clothing are behind us.  Having a great weight loss motivator like that is half the battle, but the determination to take action and the dedication to stick with a plan are still both needed. The great news is that spring has some natural advantages that make losing weight easier than other times of the year.  Here’s why:

  • Abundant Daylight:  After getting off of work during the winter, the sun is setting and the cold, dark weather makes it tempting to head straight home to curl up on the couch.  In contrast, the plentiful sunshine of spring provides an energetic boost that compels you to keep moving after the workday is done. 

 

  • Increased Vitamin D Levels:   Having more opportunity to be in the sun increases Vitamin D levels in our bodies.  According to a study done by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, increased Vitamin D levels has been shown to promote weight loss more than just diet and exercise alone.

 

  • Outdoor Exercise Burns More Calories:   People have been found to exercise more rigorously and for longer periods of time when exercising outdoors.  Spring is a great time to move your workout routine outside where you will easily shed more pounds.

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  • Beautiful Weather Decreases Emotional Eating:   Dark winter days can cause emotions to dip along with the temperatures, which leads many of us straight to the fridge for those comforting, but calorie laden foods. The warm, sunny days of spring produce a natural high making us much less likely to rely upon food as a mood booster.

 

  • Hot Weather Decreases Appetite:  When we metabolize food, our body temperature increases.  Therefore, in the colder months, we are biologically programmed to eat more so that we stay warm.  On the other hand, during the warmer weather the body works harder to keep cool so the appetite is naturally suppressed.

 

  • Healthy Foods are in Season:  Vegetables like arugula, artichokes, spinach, watercress are in season.  Sweet delicious strawberries are also at their best.  What these foods have in common is their dark green leaves, which are most effective at lowering insulin, which burns fat! 

 

There is no better time than now to take advantage of the natural ways that spring promotes weight loss.  Start moving toward your weight loss goals right away by calling the compassionate and knowledgeable professionals of Medifast Weight Control Centers.  During your complimentary consultation you will learn how we can help you achieve your weight loss goals more easily than ever.

Call us at (602) 996-9669 today!

Quality or Quantity – The Diet Debate

With a growing body of research in the area of diet and its impact on our bodies, we are getting closer to determining what we should eat for optimal health and weight. It is now known that calories matter but the source and quality of calories are equally important in promoting weight loss. The focus should be on eating high-quality foods in appropriately sized portions.

Consider quality, not just calories

“A calorie is NOT JUST a calorie”. Instead of simply focusing on calories, think about choosing high-quality, healthy foods, and cutting out low-quality foods. This is why successful weight loss programs, such as Medifast in Phoenix, AZ, let you eat six meals a day and they are all high-quality foods. This keeps hunger satiated (so you don’t reach for that packet of junk food) and your body nourished.

High-Quality Foods

High-quality foods include minimally processed foods such as vegetables and fruits, whole grains and healthy sources of protein. On the contrary, lower-quality foods include processed snacks, foods high in saturated and trans fats, sugar-sweetened beverages, foods made from refined flour and refined sugar and fried foods.

Researchers at the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health have shown that quality is extremely important in determining what we should eat to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Individual Differences

Yet there isn’t one “perfect” diet for everyone, due to individual differences in body composition and lifestyle. When you consult weight loss specialists at Medifast weight control clinics, they would first take into account your individual differences before designing a personalized weight loss program for you.

To learn more about weight loss programs and to consult weight loss doctors in Phoenix and Gilbert, AZ, call the leading Glendale weight loss centers, Medifast at 602-996-9669 Today! Medifast is clinically proven to provide safe weight loss. Developed by a physician, it’s the brand recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980.

Six Reasons Not to Let Weight Fluctuations Get You Down

It’s human nature to want to see instant results. You demonstrate perfect discipline by following a healthy diet and exercise plan for several days and then comes the moment of truth.  You step on the scale fully expecting the numbers to reflect your unwavering dedication.  Your heart sinks as you see that your weight has inexplicably gone up. 

 

How can this be?  Feeling defeated and upset, you vow to further restrict your calories and increase your exercise. Don’t be so quick to react!  Weight  fluctuations are common and can occur for a variety of legitimate reasons. Find out why fluctuations occur and why you shouldn’t allow shutterstock_513483379these temporary setbacks  to discourage you from your long term weight loss goals.

 

  1. You’ve eaten too much sodium:   Consuming heavily salted foods can cause fluid retention. This is especially true if you are slightly dehydrated, as the body holds on to extra fluid to allow for healthy rehydration. Eating whole, natural foods and less salt can reduce water retention.  Also, although it sounds counterintuitive, drinking more water can help flush excess fluid and sodium from your system, providing a more accurate reflection of your weight loss progress.

 

2. You haven’t rid your body of waste in a while:   A change in diet may cause constipation and the resulting inability to have regular bowel movements can reflect on the scale.  Be sure to eat a lot of fiber rich food, drink plenty of water, and exercise. This will help your bowels function more efficiently so that you’re eliminating regularly and not feeling bloated and discouraged.

 

3. You have PMS:  Hormonal changes can cause women to retain between two and eight pounds of water weight during the week before their monthly cycle.  Continue to stick with your weight loss and exercise plan during this time and you should see this excess water weight drop off a few days after menstruation begins. 

 

4. The time of day your weigh yourself is inconsistent:  A person can weigh five to seven pounds more at night than in the morning.  This is due to the consumption of food and liquid throughout the day that has not yet been fully digested or excreted.  The most accurate measurement of your weight is first thing in the morning after having used the restroom. Weighing yourself consistently at this time will help to avoid frustrating weight fluctuations.

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5. You celebrated yesterday’s weight loss:  People like to be rewarded for their successes, so if you see a significant drop in weight one day, it may feel like an invitation to eat more and exercise less the next.  Of course this will only sabotage your long term efforts. Therefore stick to your plan and establish other rewards that won’t hinder your weight loss  progress.

 

6. Eating more carbs than usual: Carbohydrates, while a great source of energy in moderation, can cause additional water retention. Carbs are stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen and the body stores between three and four grams of water for every gram of glycogen.  This is why cutting carbs can result in a rapid display of weight loss and reintroducing them can quickly increase water retention, presenting as weight gain. 

 

Understanding the reasons behind weight fluctuations can make the ups and downs of weight loss less discouraging. Avoid the emotional rollercoaster of inevitable fluctuations by weighing yourself only one time per week at the same time of day. 

 

 

Medifast Weight Control Centers have a team of expert and caring professionals who can provide the necessary support and education to help you achieve your weight loss goals. Please call (602) 996-9669 today for your complimentary consultation.

Five Ways to Keep the Holidays Healthy this Year

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The holidays provide a much needed break from the day-to-day routine. They are a time to put aside the daily grind and share quality time with those people we value most in our lives.

However, many of us traditionally equate this time with overindulgence in food and drink and the perfect excuse to be the very vegetables we choose not to eat.  While this may at first seem like a fun way to spend the next month, the pleasure quickly fades as January rolls around and we struggle to button our favorite pair of jeans.

The good news is that by making just a few small changes, you can still embrace the festivity of the holidays without having to loosen your belt.

 

  • Don’t bank your calories:  You have a big dinner party to go to, so if you just skip breakfast and lunch you can eat three times as much for dinner, right?  No, absolutely not! This common misconception will backfire causing you to pack on the extra pounds.  By depriving yourself throughout the day, you slow down your metabolism so that when you finally do eat, the calories are burned at a much slower rate.  Being in deprivation mode also triggers overeating, so not only are you eating more calories but you’re burning them at a slower rate.

 

  • Drink more water:   If you must, then indulge in one alcoholic or sugary drink, but then switch to water.  Water is a great appetite suppressant so the more of it that you consume, the less desire you’ll have to fill up on highly caloric foods.  Studies have also shown that water boosts the metabolism and cleanses your body of waste so you’ll eat less and burn more.

 

  • Complete your meal with coffee or green tea:  Rather than going back for seconds, complete your meal by sipping a cup of coffee or green tea. This will avoid any social awkwardness of being empty handed without adding unnecessary calories, and offers the bonus of boosting your metabolism.

 

  • Take advantage of the beautiful Arizona weather:  There are few places that are conducive to outdoor activity during the holidays, but we are fortunate to live in one of them.  Take advantage of the beautiful, sunny days and warm temperatures and make outdoor play part of your holiday tradition. Rather than lingering over appetizers before a meal or desserts after, take a group walk or play an outdoor game such as volleyball, corn hole, or ping pong.  You’ll feel better, have a great time, and avoid mindless calorie consumption.

 

  • Offer to help the host:  If you’re not hosting yourself, the party host will most certainly appreciate your offer to help with serving and cleanup.  This will not only keep you up and moving, but it will also be a helpful distraction from sitting and nibbling on the tempting spread of food and drinks.

Make the holidays this year a time of healthy choices so that you can enter the new year feeling renewed and energized, rather than remorseful and sluggish. Medifast Weight Control Centers has a team of compassionate and knowledgeable weight loss experts that you can rely upon to get you through the holiday season and come out ahead in the New Year.

Please call (602) 996-9669 and we’ll provide you with a complimentary consultation to explain how we can help.

Six Healthy Habits to Break the Cycle of Emotional Eating

Think of the last time you came home from a stressful day at work, went through a rough breakup, or just felt bored. Did you grab a fist full of carrots and head to the gym or didcanstockphoto22584013 you park yourself on the couch, turn on Netflix and devour a pint or two to ice cream? 

If you answered the latter, don’t feel alone.  It’s not uncommon for people to turn to food in times of emotional distress, but the outcome of using food to numb emotions usually only compounds those negative emotions.  The good news is that you can break the emotional eating habit by taking action and adopting the following healthy habits.

 

  1. Don’t go into deprivation mode:   Many times, after we’ve overindulged, we feel the need to punish ourselves by skipping meals or going on overly restrictive diets.  Not only is this an unkind way to treat ourselves, but it ultimately ends of being a self defeating cycle of starvation and overeating. Forgive yourself for your overindulgence and show yourself and your body love by eating three healthy, reasonably portioned meals and snacks each day.

2. Keep a diary:   Writing down everything we eat before eating it, it keeps us honest and accountable.  It also gives us a moment to pause and think about what we are doing and the motive behind it.  That moment of pause may be just enough to create the realization that we are not actually hungry but rather bored, angry, lonely, sad or some other emotion that is mimicking hunger. 

3. Practice mindful eating:  Many times when we eat, we rush through it barely even taking a moment to chew before we swallow.  We are so distracted with our surrounding stimuli, that we hardly notice what or how much we’ve eaten.  Instead, try turning off the technology, sitting down in a peaceful space and making the meal the main focus of your attention.  Focus on the flavors and textures of your food and pause in between bites. This will allow your brain the 20 minutes it needs to register that you are full and also help create awareness of the nourishment you’re giving your body.

4. Have a support system:  Feeling supported will lessen your desire to fill an emotionally empty space with food.  Have a few go to resources such as friends, a professional weight loss coach, or a support group that you can rely upon to help you to get through emotionally turbulent times in a healthy way. Pick up the phone or write about how you’re feeling and chances are that getting your feelings out will diminish your desire to eat mindlessly.

5. Remove temptations:  If you know you have a tendency to turn to certain foods for emotional comfort, don’t buy them!  Instead have bowls of freshly cut fruit and vegetables readily accessible so that when you genuinely feel hungry you’ll have plenty of nutritious food at your fingertips.

6. Have a backup plan:   Before binging, pause to identify whether the feeling you have is actually hunger or an emotionally charged feeling triggered by feelings of pain or emptiness that mimicks hunger.  Have an alternate plan.  Call an understanding friend, go for a workout, write down your feelings, or partake in a hobby that you enjoy so that you feel more emotionally satiated and therefore less likely to eat for the wrong reasons.logo

 

You don’t have to let your emotions dictate your clothing size.  Recognizing your emotional eating patterns and substituting healthy new habits can not only help your waistline, but also increase your mental well being.

The caring experts at Medifast Weight Control Centers can support and guide you as you learn to curb your emotional eating and create a healthier you.  Call today at (602) 996-9669 for your complimentary consultation and learn how we can help.

Why Sugar is So Harmful

Far too many people misunderstand what fat really is and how it comes about. Simply eating something that has fat in it will not cause you to gain excessive amounts of weight over something else. When your body consumes calories, sugar calories, it needs to consume fiber at the same time. Fruits and vegetables have fiber in them so that when you consume the natural sugars they contain you also consume fiber simultaneously. When you consume this it goes into the liver and is processed on a slow and regular basis which converts into energy immediately.

SoftDrinks SugarWhen you do not consume the fiber and you only consume the sugar in something such as a Coke, cookies, or other processed and prepackaged foods, you do not get fiber and instead, you get a higher amount of sugar. Your liver begins to work overtime because it has to process all of the sugar you consumed at the exact same time. When it goes into overdrive the pancreas tries to help by releasing insulin. The high rates of insulin release by your pancreas cause your blood sugar levels to spike. If you do not burn off all of that insulin right then and there, it will almost immediately turn into fat and be stored in your body.

When you do not consume the fiber and you only consume the sugar in something such as a Coke, cookies, or other processed and prepackaged foods, you do not get fiber and instead, you get a higher amount of sugar. Your liver begins to work overtime because it has to process all of the sugar you consumed at the exact same time. When it goes into overdrive the pancreas tries to help by releasing insulin. The high rates of insulin release by your pancreas cause your blood sugar levels to spike. If you do not burn off all of that insulin right then and there, it will almost immediately turn into fat and be stored in your body.

Getting rid of fat which already exists is so much harder than simply keeping the fat off of your body by not consuming contents that have high doses of sugar such as sodas and processed foods.

SugarIn order to avoid items which are high in sugar and bad for your body, you should avoid purchasing products that are already made. You should have to make your meals. You should have to cook and put effort into preparing what you eat. You should not buy something which you can shove in your freezer and simply reheat later. You should not buy something that comes in a box or a bag that you get to open and eat immediately. You should not cover your healthy and natural foods like lettuce with dressings that are high in sugar. These are all things can simply be avoided.

It is imperative that people understand that losing weight is not simply a one-time deal. Burning off existing fat maybe a one time deal in and of itself but in order to keep that fat off to stay healthy no matter what your size or weight you have to begin by changing your lifestyle. Staying healthy truly is a lifestyle choice you have to choose to do it for ever. There is no alternative there is no fast and there is no way to cheat your way out of this.

You need to eat healthier foods that are natural whole foods which are plant-based, exercise regularly, and stay hydrated. Do not let weight loss company trick you into believing that you can change your health and size in one instant and never have to put any work out ever again. Do not let food or soda companies trick you into thinking that consuming a soda counts as no calories or that it helps you lose weight or that it is healthier than simple water.

Three Reasons to Celebrate Hitting a Weight Loss Plateau

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Your decision to head to the gym versus raid the kitchen pantry these past couple of months has been rewarded with the sight of steadily decreasing numbers on the scale each week.  So like any other, this week you arrive for your Medifast appointment feeling confident, happy, and with your head held high. 

As you enthusiastically hop on the scale, your jaw drops and your mood sinks. Your weight hasn’t budged an ounce since last week!  Your Certified Medifast Weight Loss Specialist, who has been supporting you throughout, smiles and says, “it looks like we may have hit a plateau this week”. 

You think to yourself, “how could this be when I’ve followed my food and exercise program to the letter?”.  Well, hold that thought for a moment and keep your chin up, because there’s actually good reason to celebrate when you hit a weight loss plateau.

 

  1. You’re no longer an amateur. When you begin losing weight, your body is going from one extreme to the other in terms of food intake and exercise level. Of course the dramatic change in your habits is going to have an equally dramatic affect on your weight loss.  However, when your body becomes more acclimated to your new, healthy lifestyle it’s not going to respond as quickly. This is a good thing!  This means that you’re no longer a beginner and that you’ve made major strides in developing a healthy new way of living.

 

  1. Progress doesn’t always show up on the scale. Because you’ve been eating leaner foods and and increasing your exercise, you’re likely increasing the ratio of muscle to fat in your body. Since muscle weighs more than fat, it’s perfectly logical that your weight would plateau or even slightly increase. When this happens, focus more on how you feel and how your clothes are fitting. The plateau you’re experiencing is likely great evidence that you’re evolving into a new, more fit version of yourself.

 

  1. You’re in better shape now. As you get in the routine of making healthy food choices and exercising, your body becomes more fit.  The same exercise you did a month ago, may not burn the same amount of calories it did before because the number of calories you burn doing the exact same amount of exercise decreases in proportion to your decreasing body weight.  Therefore, the same 30 minutes of cardio that used to burn 300 calories when you were 20 pounds heavier, may now only burn 250.  This change is a clear demonstration of how much progress you’ve made!

 

When you hit a weight loss plateau, don’t feel defeated, but rather victorious. This is a great sign that you are that much closer to reaching your weight loss goal!  The compassionate experts at Medifast Weight Control Centers can help you get past this and other hurdles that you may encounter on your weight loss journey. You don’t have to do this alone. 

 

Call Medifast Weight Control Centers today for your complimentary consultation and let us help you achieve and celebrate your weight loss success!

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